Due to its extreme sweetness and negligible calorie content, stevia has become a buzzword in the sweetener industry. Consumers nowadays are looking for best of both worlds, a combination of indulgence and well-being. This consumption trend is creating stevia popular with every passing day!
A sugar replacement is a food additive which imparts a sweet flavor like sucrose (table sugar) without supplying a substantial food energy/calories which sucrose provides otherwise. Some sugar substitutes are made by nature, and others are produced synthetically. The modern use of stevia primarily involves stevia-based sweeteners.
Artificial sweeteners, for example acesulfame-K, aspartame, neotame, saccharin, and sucralose, despite being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have always been under some or other controversies because of their long-term ill-effects. In actuality, certain scientific studies have described them as powerful neuro toxins, impairing the normal functioning of the central nervous system!
Even though there are various organic sweeteners available in the marketplace (such as erythritol, xylitol, and yacon syrup), recent research conducted on human subjects using stevia have made this natural ingredient a favorite sweetener choice of the people. There have been conclusive evidence on stevia’s role in reducing the elevated blood pressure and lowering the glucose levels in diabetics.
Stevia comprises steviol glycosides, the chemical compound responsible for the sweet flavor of the leaves. Although stevia leaf and primitive stevia extracts aren’t generally recognized as safe (“GRAS”) and don’t have FDA approval for use in food, the FDA hasn’t contested the GRAS status of particular high-purity steviol glycosides for use in food.
August 2017: PepsiCo attempts to patent the stevia manufacturing procedure.
Perspective: The prime focus of important studies surrounding stevia is to generate less bitter and more sugary-tasting steviol glycoside Reb M. The enzymatic process employed here is effective in addition to cost-effective, and will perhaps pave the way for additional taste advancement in steviol glycosides.
Perspective: The usage of these organic interventions significantly enhances the sustainability factor associated with stevia production. Additionally, it raises customer’s trust as the term”organic” attracts more focus today than ever before.
How the worldwide market is reacting to the natural sweetener?
A report by a market research company, estimates the worldwide stevia market to witness a CAGR of over 8 percent during the period between 2017 and 2022.
The launching of stevia was perceived with a narrow application range, limited to zero-calorie drink applications, and as a natural substitute for artificial high intensity sweeteners (“HIS”). Stevia not only overtook Aspartame – a major HIS, within its first year of launch, but also quickly expanded to the full sweetener market and across all food & beverage groups.
The climbing health-consciousness observed worldwide (owing to high incidence rates of obesity and diabetes ) and a paradigm shift from sugar (toward natural ingredients) are expected to be key factors driving the demand for stevia-based sweeteners.
Another factors propelling the development of the natural sweetener are: large investments on R&D by leading giants, developing product innovation with enhanced flavor, increasing product visibility in modern retail formats, and elevated levels of advertising support.
As stevia-based sweeteners are becoming increasingly integrated in sports nutrition and wellness beverage products, the growing sports nutrition goods and wellness beverage markets are expected to behave as chances for the stevia market.
The Main Hurdles for the Marketplace are: A highly fragmented marketplace with supply-chain complexities, various regulatory constraints, and availability of additional low-calorie sweeteners.
Even though the requirement for stevia has tripled since 2011, the growth has slowed down because of the bitter aftertaste. A flavor modification (by fine-tuning the chemical composition in a manner that eliminates the bitter aftertaste) can revive the development. The global-level regulatory unification can be achieved by recognized bodies, such as Codex, by efficiently streamlining the different procedures and practices that track the use of stevia extracts from various food products.